National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW): A Commemoration Featuring a Field of Cones at the Washington Monument

In the time since the first National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) took place in 2000, kickoff events have been a key component of these annual campaigns highlighting the importance of safe driving in road construction areas. An early and notable example of these events was the one held in April 2001 in Washington, D.C.

The theme of the second annual NWZAW was “Enhancing Safety and Mobility in Work Zones,” a lifesaving priority that was vividly illustrated at the kickoff event on that Monday at the National Mall. As a central part of this event, 868 traffic cones had been set up on the grounds of the Washington Monument. All of these traffic cones were draped with black ribbons to represent individuals who had been killed in work zone accidents in 1999.  

Vincent F. Schimmoler, deputy executive director of the Federal Highway Administration, underscored the significance of that sobering display. “The field of cones, each symbolizing a preventable death in a work zone, reminds us of the real people who were part of crews working to improve our roads,” he said. “Most of the cones remind us of people like you, just driving through until something went terribly wrong.”

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) also took part in that kickoff event at one of the nation’s most familiar landmarks. AASHTO members with representatives at the event were the Georgia Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Virginia Department of Transportation.

Other stakeholders likewise represented at the event included the American Traffic Safety Services Association, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, International Safety Equipment Association, Associated General Contractors of America, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, and National Safety Council.

Photo Credit: Federal Highway Administration

For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) in 2001, please check out

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